Sunday, January 3, 2016

Happy New Year! (and a very, very late Merry Christmas!)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year a little late! I hope this finds you all well and ready to begin the next chapter. We here at the Glasscock house have had some major changes taking place, especially since September.

Last spring I was give the opportunity to apply for a teaching job at the high school in Miles City. I really hadn't given the idea of returning to education and the classroom a lot of thought, and really figured I wouldn't ever be a teacher again. At that point, we had pretty well decided that we would be bringing Ben and Allison in to Miles City for school in the fall, so when a half-time job teaching English from 8-noon each day was offered to me, including health insurance for the whole family, it really was an answer to prayer. The kids started 3rd and 6th grade at Lincoln Elementary in the fall, Adam is a junior at CCDHS, and Haley is in her sophomore year at Chadron State College in Nebraska. Scott continues to work hard farming, ranching, and being involved in the community, playing bagpipes and being on a couple of ag committees. The kids and I usually head to town on Monday morning bright and early, and stay in for school throughout the week. We do try to come to the ranch on Wednesday afternoons, unless the kids attend the Kids Ministry, 3 in 1 at church.

Scott has been amazing as a dad and husband, and makes the 40 mile trip in each evening and out each morning to the ranch. I think there have only been a 2 or 3 nights when he's been unable to stay in town at our town house. Things will be a little different when we start calving and seeding, but the kids and I will probably be the ones doing a little more driving when the weather turns around and the days are longer. We have a cute house in Miles City, but it's not home like it is at the ranch.

One really great thing about being in Miles City is that we've been able to see a lot more of Adam, as he comes over to eat lunch and dinner with us a couple of times each week. Scott's brushing up on his Geometry skills so he can help occasionally, plus I see him every day at 10:50 for American Literature! After suffering a separated shoulder in a horse wreck moving cows this summer, Adam played varsity football this fall and got a lot of time on the field. It was a pretty emotional year as they lost their head coach to a battle with cancer just 3 weeks into the season. They went on to win their divisional championship and lost to the eventual state champions, Whitefish, in the semi-final game. It was a lot of fun! He's currently playing basketball, mostly JV but a little Varsity as well. He's about 6'5 and turning into a great young man!

Haley was home over break for over a week. It was fun to get to spend some time with her. She's half way through her Sophomore year at Chadron State College in Nebraska. She is majoring in Social Work and doing extremely well in her classes. She has really missed singing so after taking a semester off, she is going to be in the women's choir again for spring semester. She lives on campus and works part-time at Subway. She has a really nice young man, Logan, that she has been seeing now for almost a year too as well as a dog, Nala. We sure miss her around here, but know that she's doing well and having a lot of success as a college student and adult.

A and B, as I like to call them, are adjusting to town and school, but differently than I expected. Ben has always been pretty social and Alli more shy, so I figured that would make the transition easier for Ben, and a little less so for Allison. However, Alli has made some great friends in her class at school (interestingly enough, they are mostly country kids and one who has grandparents and cousins from Jordan). Academically she's thriving and especially enjoys getting to do music and art in school each week. She's also doing gymnastics for an hour each week and has really enjoyed that, as well as taking piano lessons. She catches on quickly and seems to have a natural capacity for music. We sure enjoy listening to her practice and get better each week. She's going to start playing a little basketball with some girls in her class here in the next couple of months.

Ben, on the other hand, has learned that friends are fickle, and that kids can be mean. I fully expected mean girls, but not so much mean boys. Ben is a bit like his mother, in that he's a people-pleaser, and wants everyone to like him, so he's learning that not everyone will, and that's ok. It's a hard lesson to learn, and one I continue to work on. We were very spoiled with the kids and families at our Cohagen school plus a teacher who all enforced the golden rule and expected the kids to behave as such and they were called out when they didn't. We pray each night for the kids that hassle him, and continue to pray that Ben would find a group of friends who value him for his sensitive, funny and imaginative self. He had lots of fun in Little Guy Football this fall, and even scored 2 touchdowns, even though his team wasn't super successful. He's been doing open gym with some kids and dads, 2-3 nights a week and has really enjoyed that too. Ben is taking guitar lessons from one of our pastors, and has a real affinity for music. He's also way into baseball, football, and basketball cards and Legos. Academically he's doing well, and making progress. He doesn't love school, but he's enjoying reading, language, and PE. He really likes a couple of his teachers who are making learning fun. He will start 5th and 6th grade basketball here at the end of January, and Scott will again coach Ben's team. He's growing like a weed, and will be taller than me soon.

Teaching has really been a lot of fun! God created me with the ability to communicate and teach, and it's really rewarding and inspiring to do what comes naturally! It hasn't been without its adjustments, though. It's amazing to me how much technology plays a part in the educational process now, from Smartboards to Google docs, and the vast availability of extremely well-written supplements and resources for the class room is sometimes overwhelming. I'm teaching American Literature to two classes of Juniors and Intro to Literature to one class of Sophomores. They are a great bunch of kids and I've really enjoyed getting to know them and see them outside of school.  It's also encouraging to me to note that at least in Miles City, the teachers are not part of some big vast left-wing plot to convert all of our children into liberals. The teachers I work with are very dedicated to their craft and care about kids, and are experts in their subject matter. In our community, the kids are more influenced by the media they have at their fingertips than by radical educators! It's also been good to note that kids really haven't changed a whole lot in the 12 or so years since I've been teaching. They still have the same interests, hormones, and energy. It does seem to me that there is a larger ratio of kids that have had disrupted childhoods due to drug use and abuse, divorce and extremely fractured family units. Overall though, teaching has been a positive experience for me, and I think for my students.

I continue to sell Mary Kay on the side which is a lot of fun. I continue to sing on the Worship Team at church a couple of times/month. We also live a block from the gym, so I've gotten to enjoy volleyball games, basketball games, and football games whenever there's something going on at the high school. I do miss being at the ranch each day, but I certainly value it more now, and don't take our life out there for granted any more.

As for the ranch and farm, God blessed us with good calf prices and provided a really good harvest out of not much rain in a way only He could. We are enjoying a pretty mild winter so far, with a little snow to insulate the winter wheat, and not too terribly frigid temperatures. We have acquired a couple of horses and the kids and I enjoy helping move cows. Both Ben and Alli are involved in 4-H, so we have sheep, horse, sewing and cooking projects to work on. Ben is also doing shooting sports this year. We are so thankful that we get to do what we do, and live where we live. We continue to trust God to guide us and provide the next year.

Since I dropped the ball and didn't get a Christmas card or letter out this year, I decided to resurrect the blog to do just that, plus I find that writing things can help me sort things out. I think I will give blogging a try again, to share my experiences as we commute to town for work and school during the week and are at the ranch when we have down time.

We hope you all have a blessed 2016, wherever you are!

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Texas Vacation Part I

Alli in the cockpit with the pilot after our flight to Denver.

Ben checking out the cockpit!

Waiting in the Denver airport after a quick lunch.

After landing in Austin, we headed to San Antonio via the Express way. We took a little detour into Lockhart, Texas home of Black's Barbecue. It was a "joint" and had some good BBQ, but not the best we ate on our trip.


We thought this sign was kind of funny.... Don't you eat hotdogs and burgers with your margaritas?

Monday, November 5, 2012

Photo Challenge Day 3

So I'm a day or two off... but this post is supposed to be "scary". I didn't do a great job getting prepared last week while it was Halloween, but I have something even scarier.

Two Words:

Basement Refrigerator

I cleaned it today, and man was it ever SCARY! Somehow some zucchini fritters left over from either book club or Scott's birthday got left in there, pushed way to the back as well as some leftover chicken from around harvest time I think. Suffice it to say that I broke out the clorox spray, and now things are once again UP TO SNUFF!!!

Friday, November 2, 2012

Photo Challenge Day 2

Today, I was supposed to take a picture of something handed down to me from my parents. I thought of lots of things.... my wiry, curly hair, complements of my dad, my cooking and baking skills, from my mom. Scott suggested my Bible, which was given to me in my twenties from my parents.
But then I remembered something in the bottom drawer of my nightstand:
My Spurs
I grew up on a ranch, about 80 miles north of where I live right now, as the crow flies. My parents and my aunt and uncle lived on our ranch that my grandparents and great-grandparents lived on. Originally my great-grandpa Brem Barrett lived right down on the north side of the Missouri river, north and east of Mosby, but west of Skibby's bottom. During the New Deal in the 1930s, the original ranch was in the way of the newly constructed Fort Peck Reservoir. The family's land was taken by the federal government, just like many farmers and ranchers along the river on both sides.
One of the coolest things about where I grew up was the fact that the famous Long X Ranch from Texas which established itself in 1902 was down south of our house. The remnants of the barns and the bunkhouses were still in decent shape when I was little. At one point, the Long X Ranch had over 7000 head of cattle that they ran from the mouth of the Fourchette Bay all the way up to the Fort Belknap Indian Reservation. It too had been relocated after the flooded river bottoms forced it to, and by the 30s, the Montana branch of the Texas ranch was out of business.  
My Great-grandpa Brem Barrett and Charlie Stuart, member of the Long X Crew
Brem and his family, wife and 6 daughters, moved north about 15 miles to the place where my dad and uncle were raised, as well as my siblings and my cousins. We were raised horseback, and spent many hours gathering cattle down on what is part of the CMR wildlife refuge. When I was really young, our cattle were down almost on the river at times. I remember seeing herds of over 100 bull elk, and 300 cow/calf elk while we moved cows. Along the creeks and meadows we could always find remnants of homesteads where the original families either droughted out, or were bought out by larger land owners.
I spent lots of time daydreaming on the back of my horse. I learned to whistle with my fingers while I was horseback. I would think about how the Indians used to ride across the land we were on... when I was really little, I would bounce along with Bill, my fat little white pony and keep my eyes peeled toward the hills and rough country to see if they were watching us. I think I read too many books... I learned how to figure things out from very sketchy instructions: head for that gate over there.... And by keeping my eye on my dad in his blue coat and sorrel horse in one direction and my uncle in his red coat and white horse in the other, I could figure out the general direction we were going. I'd look at the fence line and watch the posts until I could make out a gate, and then followed the herd that way. It was easier to "use my head" than to poke along in the wrong direction and get called a "hammerhead" later on.
As I got older, my dad always used to say he'd rather have my sister Terri and I as his hired hands than anyone else. We knew what to do, where to go, and we'd get things done right the first time. It was when I was in jr. high that my dad gave me spurs. They weren't just any spurs, they were the spurs of my Grandma Gladys, daughter of Brem, whom I had never met. My dad was just 16 when both of his parents were killed in a collision when they were driving their pick-up and crossed the railroad tracks west of Malta, thinking they were clear because of the blinding sun. Interestingly enough, three of my grandma's sisters married south-siders, all from the Jordan area. My great-aunt Clara married Charlie Pierson, my great-aunt Shirley married John Ryan, and my great-aunt Ethel married Phil Fellman.

Like most women of her generation and region, Grandma Gladys was quite the hand, and she wore the spurs when she was working with her dad and her husband. It was a pretty cool thing that my dad let me wear them. I used them all through high school and through college when I would come home to help. I used them the summer I worked on a dude ranch in college too.

Nowadays, they don't get much use as we don't use horses around here. Maybe someday I can pass them along to Allison if she finally talks her daddy into getting her the horse she wants so badly. Regardless, they are a neat family heirloom, and it's pretty cool to look back and think about their history.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Photo Challenge, Day 1

Don't have a heart attack! I have been long inactive on the blog scene... lots going on, and not lots of profound ideas to write about are the reasons why. But my good friend The Farmer's Wife convinced me to come up with 30 days of a photo challenge for her, and then she sent me one and asked me if I was up for it... After considering thinking about it, I decided that I should maybe commit to it. Then she pinned me down, and so here I am.

The first challenge was to find things that resembled the letters in my first name throughout the day. So here they are:


You might have to squint and move your head funny, but there they are: T-r-A-C-I.

Phew. Day one is done! I'll try again tomorrow!